Not really Alameda specifically, but tangentially related. Since all eyes are back on Alameda Point for this hot minute, remember when former Mayor Beverly Johnson, former City Councilmember Frank Matarrese and former Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant all took a little field trip down to Irvine California to visit the “Great Park”? I’m pretty sure that this was the path that this trio had wanted to take Alameda Point down.
But perhaps it was a good thing that the 2010 election went in a different direction and Alameda’s version of the Great Park was never jumpstarted because last month the LA Times had an update about Irvine’s Great Park and it was not at all the great. Highlight:
Ten years after Orange County residents voted to turn a shuttered military base into one of America’s most ambitious municipal parks, most of the land remains fenced off, looking very much like the airfield the Marines left behind.
The city of Irvine has spent at least $203 million on the project, but only 200 acres of the promised 1,347-acre Great Park has been built, and half of that is leased out for commercial farming.
Now, the money to build “the first great metropolitan park of the 21st century” — as the city calls it — has just about run out, leaving Irvine leaders to contemplate radical measures: Selling off public land to raise funds or asking private business to step in and build the park for them.
The park, by now, was supposed to be filled with scores of sports fields and eventually museums, cultural centers, botanical gardens, and maybe even a university — all tucked into a bucolic landscape of forests, lawns, a lake and 60-foot-deep canyon that would be scooped from the earth once the barracks and runways were demolished.
But there are no baseball diamonds or regulation soccer fields. No canyon, no forest, no sprawling museum complex.
There’s a funny quote from a former City Councilperson who suggested that if the City could only find more money they could complete the Great Park in 10-15 years.